Tuesday , May 28 2024

Booster doses necessary to maintain COVID protection: deputy health minister

Workers in HCM City’s Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone receive booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ

HÀ NỘI — First and second booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are necessary to maintain protection against the virus, Deputy Health Minister Nguyễn Thị Liên Hương said on Monday.

Hương joined other health officials and local leaders in a meeting on healthcare and pandemic prevention, which Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam chaired. 

According to the deputy health minister there is currently no scientific proof that the COVID-19 vaccine poses long-term health risks to people, though its effectiveness wanes over time. 

Therefore, people must receive the third and fourth doses as booster shots in accordance with instructions from the health ministry.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed that as of June 17, Việt Nam had administered over 225.2 million COVID-19 vaccines, equivalent to 98.6 per cent of the population.

Nearly all of the adult population have been fully vaccinated, of which 64.5 per cent have received the first booster shot and 11.5 per cent have received the second. 

First and second-dose coverage for children aged 12 to 17 are 100 and 97.7 per cent, respectively. The figures are 43.3 and 7 per cent for children aged 5 to 11.

In May, approximately 3 million COVID-19 booster doses were administered to adults. 

The health ministry said that if June sees similar progress, only around 70 per cent of the vaccination plan would be achieved by the end of Q2.

In regard to vaccination for children aged 5 to 11, the current progress only reached 62 per cent of the plan for the first dose and 31 per cent for the second dose. 

At this rate, it might not be possible to use up all the vaccines received for this age group, said the health ministry. 

Emphasising that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and countries around the world see vaccines as the most effective solution against COVID-19, the health ministry urged faster progress in administering booster doses for adults.

The ministry also aims to fully vaccinate children aged 12 to 17, per the Government’s direction.

Localities are assigned with raising awareness, distributing the allocated vaccine doses, and reviewing and making a list of adult citizens to administer the second booster shots, especially people aged 50 or older, the immunocompromised and those in the high-risk groups.

The local management must also ensure at least 90 per cent vaccination coverage for workers in industrial parks and tourist areas. 

Hương emphasised that vaccination was part of the requirements of COVID-19 prevention and control, and therefore people need to receive their full dosage on schedule. — VNS

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